imageNumber : Season 1, Episode 5 of 8.

Which One : Doctor searches for keys.

Cast : The Doctor : William Hartnell
Susan : Carol Ann Ford
Ian : William Russell
Barbara : Jacqueline Hill
Arbitan : George Coulouris
Altos : Robin Phillips
Sabetha : Katherine Schofield
Voice of Morpho : Heron Carvic
Darrius : Edmund Warwick
Vasor : Francis de Wolff
Ice Soldier : Anthony Verner
Tarron : Henley Thomas
Senior Judge : Raf De La Torre
Kala : Fiona Walker
Eyesen : Donald Pickering
Yartek : Stephen Dartnell
Voord : Gordon Wales
Eprin : Dougie Dean

Written By : Terry Nation

Produced By : Verity Lamb

Parts :
1) “The Sea of Death”
2) “The Velvet Web”
3) “The Screaming Jungle”
4) “The Snows of Terror”
5) “Sentence of Death”
6) “The Keys of Marinus”

First UK Broadcast : 11 April – 26 May 1964.

Length : 6 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : The Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara visit a mysterious temple on planet Marinus. Here they meet Arbitan; Keeper of the ‘Conscience of Marinus’. The Conscience is a dormant mind controlling computer, which once controlled the populace of Marinus with a justice field and prevented evil behaviour.

Coerced by Arbitan, the quartet are forced to travel to various locations on Marinus. To attempt recovery of 5 keys, to restart the justice field and abate the activities of Yartek and his wetsuit clad Voord, who are immune to the Conscience.

Whats good : Being a retrieval adventure, there is a different scenario for each part. There are several mini-adventures in one. The Voord are memorably menacing, with their triangular heads and black wetsuits.

Whats bad : The First Doctor mysteriously disappears in parts 3 & 4. Due to Hartnell taking a holiday, right in the middle of production!!!


Review With Spoilers : The Keys Of Marinus is the 5th episode of season 1. It plays out as an interesting retrieval mission yarn, clearly homaged in the Fourth Doctor’s “Key To Time” season.

In The Keys Of Marinus, the Doctor is also after some keys. This time, to restart the Conscience of Marinus and prevent the rebel Yartek taking over.

As a result, we are taken on quite the adventure, to different areas of Marinus to look for the keys. There is alot jammed in here. Including; a trip to the polar region, a jungle setting, and a city controlled by brains in jars. We even have time for a bit of courtroom drama (when Ian is accused of murder).

Hartnell is noticeably absent from parts 3 & 4 and you are left wondering why this is? There was actually a good reason for this, as Hartnell actually went on on holiday mid-production! His absence is noticable, even though most of it takes place during Ian’s trial. With this portion of the episode, from Ian’s perspective.

The minature model work in The Keys Of Marinus, is also quite good for a Who episode. Especially the island and temple setting at the beginning of the adventure and the Voord landing craft sequences.


“The machine will enslave them now. Bring Sabetha and the young man to me. I want them here when the final key is inserted and my power is absolute!” Yartek

Talking of the Voord, The main villains are memorable looking. If slightly sinister badguys, clad in black wetsuits with their big triangular heads and combat knives.

Ultimately, The Keys Of Marinus has a strong civil message. In that, once the conscience is finally destroyed by the Doctor. The people of Marinus must find a way to govern themselves. No doubt, this was a sideways swipe at communism – when it was written.

The Keys Of Marinus is good value, for a Who adventure. Mainly because – being a retrieval mission, it encompasses so many mini-adventures in one. There is a different sci-fi concept present here – for everyone.

🔵🔵🔵🔵⚪ (4/5)

Old Doctor Who